Associated Press Coverage of a Major Disaster: The Crash of Delta Flight 1141

Associated Press Coverage of a Major Disaster: The Crash of Delta Flight 1141

Associated Press Coverage of a Major Disaster: The Crash of Delta Flight 1141

Associated Press Coverage of a Major Disaster: The Crash of Delta Flight 1141

Excerpt

This book is based on a simple premise: the Associated Press (and other wire services--UPI, Reuters, and others) are essentially wholesalers of news from source to buyers--daily newspapers, radio, and television stations.

Yet few in journalism and fewer still outside journalism understand how the wire services operate and how they respond to major disasters. Two books about the wire services, Kent Cooper Barriers Down: The Story of the News Agency Epoch (1942) and Joe Alex Morris' Deadline Every Minute (1957) are so old as to be useless in understanding how wire services operate today.

In the distant past, when scholars began to analyze the wire services, the idea of the wire editor as "gatekeeper" was established. This suggested that wire editors were gatekeepers or controllers of the flow of information through society. Sociologist Kurt Lewin was the first scholar to use the term; it became formal in his book Field Theory in Social Science (1951).

Before his book was published, the term was adopted by mass communication researchers to describe reporters, editors, and others who make crucial decisions about what is news.

In 1950, the first gatekeeper study appeared in journalism literature. D.M. White analyzed a newspaper gatekeeper--a wire editor on a newspaper in Illinois.

Later, G.E. Lang and K. Lang, in the article The Unique Perspective of Television: A Pilot Study (1953), applied the gatekeeping concept to the television coverage of the General Douglas MacArthur parade in Chicago. Theirs was the first use of the gatekeeper concept in television research.

How does the Associated Press (AP) operate? Frederick Whitney published the most concise analysis in his book, Mass Media and Mass Communications in Society (1975). He wrote:

Each of the wire services operates a number of wires: the "A" wire for major news, the "B" wire for secondary news and major features, a sports wire, a business wire that includes stock market quotations, and a racing wire. Major metropolitan newspapers most often carry all wires from both services twenty-four hours a day; a small daily will get along on eight hours of "A" wire.

The wire service is divided into cycles of news. Twice daily the wire services draw . . .

Author Advanced search

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.